One of the most annoying social media habits that we have is scrolling through our feeds and just reading the headlines and not clicking on the articles. What’s worse, we sometimes share them without even bothering to read it and understand the full context of both the headline and the story itself. This is particularly true on Facebook and especially during these times, it can be pretty dangerous. Facebook is now bringing a tool to “promote more informed sharing of news articles.”
Reading before sharing is pretty important especially during these times when nefarious elements have been weaponizing social media to spread misinformation and disinformation. If you read just the title of an article, you may come to conclusions that the article actually doesn’t support. Or the headline may support what you believe in but if you actually read it, you’ll realize that the information there isn’t actually true.
Facebook is testing out a new tool that should make people more responsible in sharing articles on their feed. If you share an article that you haven’t opened yet, you will receive a prompt that will encourage you to open it and read it first. Of course, you will still have the opportunity to share the article even if you don’t heed the prompt but at least you have been reminded to read it first before letting your Facebook friends know about the said link.
The prompt tells you that you are about to share something that you haven’t opened yet and states that you may be missing key facts by not reading it. You get two options, either you open the article and read it or continue sharing without reading. Facebook is hoping that users will choose to do the former rather than the latter and in the process help them develop better social media habits rather than just do a lot of sharing without reading.
It’s not the first time of course that a social media platform has prompted users to read the link first. Twitter introduced a prompt of its own last summer and now it looks like Facebook is following in its footsteps. This is still in the testing phase but hopefully, they roll it out to more users eventually.